Luís Neto da Costa and Henrique Portovedo

[L.N.dC.] Independent Researcher; [H.P.] INET-md — University of Aveiro, Portugal;;


Since the second half of the 20th century, there has been an outbreak in the use of non-traditional techniques for acoustic instruments while composers searched for new timbres, challenging instrumentalists. Other paths besides pitch-oriented thinking have emerged, influencing and permeabilizing new values to the academic environment. Books about the so-called extended techniques have proliferated, means of cataloguing sound experiments and the composer-performer relationship has been constantly deepened and highlighted in the field of new music. Multiphonics are one of the commonest elements in the writing for woodwinds. While Analysis is still taking the first steps on these sounds, this technique has been generally treated as a distorted and noisy element, a peak after accumulation of tension, a harmonic brilliance, a static resonance, among others. Orgias do agora for baritone saxophone and electronics was influenced by tara and q’iwa, two contrasting tone qualities, performed in pinkillu duct flutes, an indigenous instrument from Bolivian Andes. Contrary to the classical music philosophy, tara, the equivalent to a multiphonic, has a positive aesthetic, and q’iwa, a single sound associated with weeping, a negative one. This concept led the author to compose the piece constituted by 90 % of multiphonics. Here this technique is not an exotic feature, but the constitution of its main language, only counterposed by muffled sonorities (as disrupted sounds). This sonority turned out to be a negative image, a total inversion, of delicate-sounding tradition found on most western music. During the compositional process, multiphonics were sorted by visual principles and pivotal fingerings based on a numerical sequence from the twin prime series that defines their choice, generating accidental tone relationships. Whereas some of them are repeated, the avoidance of rhythmic regularity obscures any centrality around a multiphonic while patterns are mainly formed by tone pedals and the reiteration of harmonies in the electronics. tara is a local and unknown philosophy to those who listened to the piece. In a globalised world, Orgias do agora frustrates listeners’ expectations, it provokes them. Some compositional choices disregard auditory perception and do not consider any pursuit for consonant moments. Several questions about the relationship between the composer and the audience are raised and discussed, at the same time as noise is used metaphorically as an element of another world or an unwanted one. Pointing this out and summing up, Luís Neto da Costa and Henrique Portovedo catalogued more than 100 multiphonics for this piece. Their collaboration, interpretation issues and concerns about the notation of multiphonics are also addressed here. The multiphonic catalogue uses grey scaling to differentiate weaker and stronger pitches within the spectrum whilst the score has rhythm and fingerings as an extended tablature. For this purpose, two applications were created and developed based on libraries Zsa.Descriptors and bach for Max software.

Keywords: Multiphonics; Saxophone; Programming.


Luís Neto da Costa received eight Composition awards. In 2017, he was one of the resident artists at Casa da Música and had commissions from institutions such as Arte no Tempo, Festival DME, Portuguese Association of Composers and Antena 2. His music has been played in several Portuguese concert halls and in Madrid, Valencia, Milan, Bordeaux, Larissa, Monterrey, and Rio de Janeiro. Neto da Costa has works included in the albums “LUX ET UMBRA”, edited by Artway Records, and “Mixed Dialogues” by Frederic Cardoso. In 2021, a documentary was released about his collaboration with ars ad hoc ensemble. He is also dedicated to Conducting and recorded an album with ESMAE’s Contemporary Music Ensemble in 2018. He holds a degree in Composition from ESMAE and a master’s degree in music pedagogy from University of Aveiro. He currently teaches Analysis and Composition Techniques.

Henrique Portovedo was awarded with a Summa Cum Lauda PhD in the field of Science and Technology of the Arts (Performance and Computer Music) at the Portuguese Catholic University funded by FCT. Portovedo was Fulbright Researcher at the University of Santa Barbara Califonia, Erasmus Researcher at the University of Edinburgh, visiting researcher at the ZKM Karlsruhe and visiting researcher at McGill University Montreal. Master in Music Performance with Distinction by Trinity Laban London and Master in Music Pedagogy by the University of Aveiro, he was awarded with several prizes including by the Portuguese National Centre of Culture and the British Society for Education Music and Psychology. As saxophonist and intermedia artist has presented multidisciplinary creations in festivals worldwide, while being soloist with some of the most relevant contemporary ensembles in Europe. Currently Portovedo is professor at University of Aveiro, Guest Professor at the Real Conservatorio Superior de Musica de Madrid and coordinator of the Creation, Performance and Artistic Research’s group at INET-md.